The Berean Expositor
Volume 17 - Page 16 of 144
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asset though that is. Asaph learned this lesson, and recorded it in Psa. 73:, for when
he went into the sanctuary of God he understood that which before he could not discover.
I will commune.--The Hebrew word dabar, which is translated "commune" 20 times,
is translated "speak" 814 times, so that while we lose an apparently spiritual idea by
giving up the deeper word "commune", we in reality gain by using the commoner word
"speak", for instead of thinking of set occasions, and for specially holy purposes Moses
heard the voice of the Lord, it was here at the mercy seat that every word was heard,
every instruction given, every problem settled. Here it was that the Lord "spake (dabar)
with Moses face to face, as a man speaketh (dabar) unto his friend" (Exod. 33: 11).
Here it was that the Lord "talked" with Moses (Exod. 33: 9):--
"When Moses was gone into the tabernacle of meeting to speak with Him, then he
heard the voice of One speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark
of the testimony, from between the two cherubim, and he spake unto him" (Num. 7: 89).
Who will have the temerity to decide that the meaning of the last clause should be
written, "and He spake unto him", or "and he spake unto Him"? Is it not the very essence
of this meeting place that both should speak; Moses speaking with God, and God
speaking with Moses? Is not this "communion"? To speak with God, and to hear His
word, before the blood sprinkled mercy seat? Truly we have yet to learn of burnt
offerings and sin offerings, offerings to make atonement and peace, yet are they not all
with the very object to remove all barriers and unfitness so that, unhindered, we may
enter into the presence of God, to "meet" with Him and to have this "communion"?
So important is this somewhat forgotten aspect of the result of atonement, that the
word dabar was used as a name for the holiest of all, and appears in the word "oracle"
(II Sam. 16: 23), and in the slightly modified form (debir) in sixteen other passages in
the O.T. The mercy seat, though associated with the work of atonement, is essentially a
place of fellowship, and the hearing of the word of God.
The references to the mercy seat (kapporeth) in the tabernacle are 26 in number, and
those who have Dr. E. W. Bullinger's Number in Scripture will find examples tending
to show the connection of the number 13 and its multiples with the subject of atonement.
These 26 references to the mercy seat are divided into three groups:--
Those in Exodus which speak of the actual making and placing of the mercy seat.
Those in Exodus and Numbers that refers to it as a place of meeting and communion.
Those in Lev. 16: which deal with the great day of atonement.
The references in Lev. 16: are seven in number. What was the actual origin of the
day of atonement? The sin and death of Aaron's two sons Nadab and Abihu. These men
offered strange fire before the Lord, and were destroyed:--
"Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is that the Lord spake, saying, I WILL BE
SANCTIFIED in them that come nigh Me, and before all the people I will be glorified"
(Lev. 10: 1-3).